Install and Configure Drupal on Ubuntu 18.04

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Drupal 8 is the latest version of the popular Drupal content management system. This guide demonstrates how to install Drupal 8 on your Linode running Ubuntu 18.04.

Before You Begin

  1. Familiarize yourself with our Getting Started guide and complete the steps for setting your Linode’s hostname and timezone.

  2. Follow our Securing Your Server guide to create a standard user account, harden SSH access, and create firewall rules for your web server; you may need to make additional firewall exceptions for your specific application.


    This guide is written for a non-root user. Commands that require elevated privileges are prefixed with sudo. If you’re not familiar with the sudo command, visit our Users and Groups guide.

    All configuration files should be edited with elevated privileges. Remember to include sudo before running your text editor.

  3. Install and configure a LAMP stack on Ubuntu 18.04

Download and Prepare Drupal 8

  1. Navigate to your site’s document root. If you installed and configured your Apache server using our LAMP stack on Ubuntu 18.04 guide, your document root should be located in the /var/www/html/ directory. Replace with your own document root path’s name.

     cd /var/www/html/
  2. Download the Drupal 8 tarball. As of writing this guide, Drupal 8.8.2 is the latest version. See Drupal’s download page for their latest core tarball.

     sudo wget
    Ensure that the version number matches the Drupal 8 version you wish to download.
  3. Extract the downloaded tarball’s contents into your site’s document root:

    sudo tar -zxvf drupal-8.*.tar.gz --strip-components=1 -C public_html
  4. Drupal depends on a PHP graphics library called GD. Install GD and other dependencies:

    sudo apt-get install php-gd php-xml php-dom php-Simplexml php-mbstring
  5. Create your Drupal 8 installation’s settings.php file from the default settings file. This file will be configured when you run through Drupal’s web configuration in the Drupal First Start section.

     sudo cp /var/www/html/ /var/www/html/
  6. Enforce trusted hostnames with those that users will access your site from. With the text editor of your choice, edit your settings.php file replacing the regular expression (RegEx) with a pattern that matches your own site’s URL(s).

    File: /var/www/html/
    $settings['trusted_host_patterns'] = array(
    trusted_host_patterns also accepts IP addresses or localhost.

Configure Apache 2.4

  1. Enable Apache’s rewrite module. This module is necessary since Drupal 8 enables Clean URLs by default.

    sudo a2enmod rewrite
  2. Specify the rewrite conditions for your Drupal site’s document root in Apache’s configuration file using the text editor of your choice. If you installed and configured your Apache server using LAMP stack on Ubuntu 18.04 guide, the configuration file for your site is located at /etc/apache2/sites-available/

    File: /etc/apache2/sites-available/
    <Directory /var/www/html/>
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
        AllowOverride All
        Require all granted
          RewriteEngine on
          RewriteBase /
          RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
          RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
          RewriteRule ^(.*)$ index.php?q=$1 [L,QSA]
  3. Change the ownership of your site’s document root from root to www-data. This allows you to install modules and themes, and to update Drupal, without being prompted for FTP credentials.

    sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/
  4. Restart Apache so all changes are applied.

    sudo systemctl restart apache2

Drupal First Start

  1. Go to your Linode’s domain or IP address in a web browser. This will show you the first step of Drupal 8’s web configuration. Choose your language and proceed to the next page.

  2. Choose whether you want a Standard or Minimal installation profile.

  3. Complete the database configuration using the DB name, username and password you created when setting up your LAMP stack with a MySQL or MariaDB database.

    If you forgot the name of your database, log back in to MySQL or MariaDb with: mysql -u root -p and enter: show databases;.
  4. After Drupal 8 installs your site, you’ll be shown a site configuration page where you must create the admin user for your website. Do not use the same password that you used for your database.

    Next, you’ll be taken to the administrative dashboard which will say that Drupal 8 was installed successfully.

  5. Now that Drupal 8 is finished writing to settings.php and services.yaml, you can restore their default permissions:

    sudo chmod 644 /var/www/html/{settings.php,services.yml}

Where to Go From Here

Drupal has a significant amount of documentation for security best practices to consider when hardening any Drupal server. There is also extensive community documentation and there are multiple ways of participating in the Drupal community.

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